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Web Wednesday: Final Four edition

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Each Wednesday here at Cat Scratches, we're going to take a look back at the latest week's news in UK Athletics from around the web.

Best on the Net

Men's basketball: Kentucky basketball wary of 'land mines': Took wrong path in 2011 Final Four (Kyle Tucker, The Courier-Journal)

"We know we messed up," sophomore Doron Lamb said. "We slept on defense a couple times. But we can't worry about last year. We've been working since the summertime preparing for this moment. We're finally here."

That three of his top six players are making a return trip is comforting to Calipari. He chalked up a lot of last year's letdown to it being several guys' first Final Four, "and now it's the second time; they'll be fine." He hopes the veterans will teach the four freshmen, three of them starters, to "watch the land mines."

Davis is, simply put, a once-in-a-generation talent. No one is more painfully aware of that than Jayson Gee, the Cleveland State assistant coach who nearly had Davis hooked without even truly trying. If only he'd tried. If only he'd known.

"That could've been Cleveland State," Gee said. "You daydream, obviously, and you say, 'What happens if that kid waits a year to grow like that?' We could've had that. Anthony Davis is one of the most unique stories of my career."

Men's basketball: No pressure, Cal, but now is the time to hurdle Pitino (John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader) 

You can claim that the supposed rift between yourself and Rick Pitino is overblown. We know better. In these situations, he's always been the top dog, the one coaching the better program with the better players. That's not the case come Saturday. Not on the sport's biggest stage.
As far as Kentucky fans are concerned, there's just one caveat.

You can't lose this game.

Men's basketball: Kentucky-Louisville: State rivals in Final Four (Paul Newberry, AP Sports) 

Calipari planned to tell his team not to listen to all the hype. The Wildcats have their sights on a national title, and Louisville is merely a roadblock on the way to that goal.

"I'll tell them to get off the message boards, get off Twitter and Facebook,'' he said. "Don't buy into it. We're going to New Orleans to play a basketball game. Forget about this tournament. Let's go be as good as we can be as a team.''

But it's impossible to get away from the extra significance this game has for both programs.

Women's basketball: Kentucky women's basketball team falls to UConn 80-65 in NCAA regional final (Jody Demling, The Courier-Journal) 

Seven-time national champion Connecticut used stifling second-half defense and a 21-4 run to dart past UK 80-65 in the Elite Eight before about 5,000 fans in the University of Rhode Island's Ryan Center.

"It's a difficult moment for any season to end, but it's particularly tough to see this one end," coach Matthew Mitchell said. "We had a very difficult road to get here, and I thought they showed a lot of character to get here. We wish that we could have gotten farther."

Baseball: UK beats WKU for 19th straight home victory (Mark Maloney, Lexington Herald-Leader)

The Cats, ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation (Collegiate Baseball) and No. 10 by Baseball America, extended their home-field winning streak to a school-record 19 games. UK's previous best home streak was 16 games, set in 2007 and again in 2008.

Football: Kentucky football making progress with fast-paced spring drills (Mark Maloney, Lexington Herald-Leader) 

Phillips said that he's running drills quickly in order get more plays in and, thus, get more players evaluated during the limited practice time. He said that during one 15-minute period, about 30 plays were executed. During a 20-minute "team" period, 45 plays were called.

"We're getting a lot of plays," he said. "More plays than we've gotten around here in a long time."

Kentucky (15-16) is coming off its best four-game stretch of the season with an impressive weekend on the road. UK first captured a win over Western Kentucky in Bowling Green, Ky., before taking a series from No. 18/21 Auburn in its first SEC road series of the season.

The series win over the Tigers marked just the fourth in school history and second in the Rachel Lawson era. Furthermore, it was the first time UK has claimed the series on the road as the other previous three series wins have come at home.

Former Wildcats making headlines

Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley form winning combo (Mark Murphy, Boston Herald) 

Rondo and Bradley, however, have grown to also enjoy their offensive collaboration.

Rondo, the senior of the two, has taken enjoyment in Bradley's development.

"I'm happy to play with him," Rondo said. "He's a great listener. He wants to get better each day and he's working hard. If I get a little winded I try to get Avery to bring it up. I also try to let him call some plays whenever he wants, just to give him a feel to call plays in certain situations.
Patrick Patterson scored a career-high 24 points and Earl Boykins hit four free throws for Houston late in overtime to lead the Rockets to a 113-106 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
Woodyard, 25, has been a special teams dynamo for the past four seasons in Denver. While smallish (6-foot, 220) for a linebacker, Woodyard did post career highs in tackles (97) and forced fumbles (two) last year, starting 7-of-16 games. Woodyard is an undersized overachiever. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky.

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